Authorities are working on establishing a witness protection programme to encourage individuals to come forward with information related to a crime.
Presidential commission on disappearances and deaths (DDCom) announced this via a press release issued on Sunday to mark the seventh anniversary of journalist Ahmed Rilwan. DDCom is investigating the disappearance, along with over 20 others.
The commission was formed by incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih shortly after assuming office in November 2018, having vowed to deliver justice to victims of enforced disappearances and murders during his presidential campaign. The president has joined marches calling for justice held by Rilwan’s family, even speaking at these events something even tearing up.
DDCom in its statement said that their goal is to bring to justice to all those involved in the journalist’s disappearance, no matter how small the involvement.
Further highlighting that there have been various obstacles to the investigation, which is being carried out with the assistance of the police and foreign experts, the commission stressed that they are working to overcome these.
While one obstacle is witnesses’ reluctance to give testimonies for different reasons, DDCom said that they are currently working on a solution to this. As such, the commission revealed work to establish a witness protection programme with input from relevant government agencies.
DDCom said that this will be done in accordance to the country’s laws, as well as international best practices.
Noting that such a policy will help gain the public’s trust in the system, the commission said that such programmes are crucial for such cases that are highly dependent on witness statements.
While Ahmed Rilwan was last seen purchasing a ticket to the Hulhumalé ferry from Malé on 8 August 2014, police confirmed his abduction two years later in 2016.
DDCom in September 2019 confirmed that Rilwan was killed by an unidentified extremist group and that his body was dumped into sea.
The commission recently called for public assistance in acquiring information relating to the knife found outside Rilwan's apartment building, dropped by his attackers during the abduction; MVR 500,000 incentive is being offered for information on the stainless steel 'Saekodive' brand knife.
Further, DDCom released a reenacted video of the abduction back in July, appealing to the public once again, to come forward with any information relating to the journalist's disappearance.